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Home » News » Crime

November 14. 2013 4:11PM

Former Portsmouth school worker sentenced for sexually assaulting student


Kenneth Kimber, 35, of Portsmouth was sentenced 3 to 8 years in state prison on Thursday for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. Kimber was a Portsmouth school employee at the time of his arrest. (James Kimble/Union Leader Correspondent)

BRENTWOOD - A former Portsmouth school department worker was sentenced three to eight years in state prison for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student after soliciting her online in February.

Judge Marguerite Wageling told Kenneth Kimber, 35, of Portsmouth during his sentencing hearing Thursday in Rockingham County Superior Court that he was lucky to dodge a longer stretch in prison.
"I agreed to take this plea to protect this victim, not because of any sympathy I have for what you are going through," Wageling said, calling Kimber's actions "nothing less than selfish and depraved."

Kimber pleaded guilty on Oct. 17 to single counts of felonious sexual assault, indecent exposure and two counts of prohibited uses of a computer.

He began communicating with the girl through Facebook between Feb. 3 and Feb. 11, and sent the girl a picture of his genitals with an explicit message before picking her up and driving her to his apartment for sex, according to prosecutors.

Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway said that if Kimber had been convicted at trial, "the state would be asking for a lot more than three to 8 (years) stand committed."

Prosecutors negotiated a plea deal to spare the victim, who they say has been "affected tremendously" by Kimber's actions.
Kimber worked for the Portsmouth school district's information technology department and coached a boy's basketball team at Noble High School in Berwick, Maine, when he was arrested by Portsmouth police.

New Hampshire and Maine school officials promptly fired him after he was charged.

The girl's mother told Wageling during Thursday's hearing how Kimber's actions led her daughter to attempt suicide multiple times, and miss school because she was being harassed there.
"To be honest, I am completely broken. As a single mother, I honestly thought a school would be a safe place for my daughter," the mother said.
"No parent should ever have to go through this. No child should ever have to go through this," she added.
Kimber still has more legal woes to resolve. He faces nine counts of stalking for allegedly calling a woman from the county jail after he was barred from having contact with her, according to prosecutors. No trial date has been set in that case.

Kimber could have faced up to 3 ½ to 7 years in prison on each of the charges had he been convicted at trial.
"He's taken responsibility for his actions," defense lawyer Joseph Prieto said after the sentencing hearing. "He wants to put this matter behind him and move on."
Kimber was ordered to undergo the state's sexual offender program and have no contact with the victim or her mother. Wageling also barred Kimber from using email outside of work and any kind of social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. jkimble@newstote.com



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